Making the Switch to Alternative Energy Sources in the United States

Mary Fabian, Science, CATO Middle College High School

Final Unit (PDF)     Implementing Common Core Standards (PDF)

200 Word Synopsis

Anthropogenic climate change is a large, overarching topic that can be daunting to teach in one unit. This curriculum unit divides the major topics of climate change into smaller, more manageable modules that can be used separately for different grade levels and abilities or as a holistic approach to the topic. The original design of the unit was to repeatedly weave the information about greenhouse gases, climate change and alternative energy through the many and varied units of AP Environmental Science. The goal is to have a culminating capstone activity that would require students to synthesize the knowledge from all the different units and evaluate the feasibility of switching different geographic regions to fossil fuel free power generation. This curriculum unit includes background knowledge on greenhouse gases and climate change, pollution, the atmosphere, weather and climate, as well as ocean acidification. Also discussed are mining and resource management, land use and conservation, and renewable energy sources. This unit also includes strategies for engaging students in hands-on science activities. The intent of this unit is that each module can be used individually or as part of the whole, so that educators of different science courses and grade levels can tailor the content to utilize as much or as little as they need for their own classroom enrichment.